Gleams & Notions

Novel Cosmetic Formulas For Your Consideration

By Harvey Fishman, Consultant | April 30, 2012

Looking for some new ideas? I’ve got a few that I’ve been working on, but they are not finished formulas ready to go into production.

Viscosity and pH adjustments may need to be done, fragrances added, stability tests should be run (room temperature and heat), and microbial challenge tests should be done. Though they may need work, these formulas are unique and would be a hit with consumers looking for something different.
For instance, the first one is a shampoo that produces heat when applied to wet hair. To use, rinse hair, shake bottle and apply to wet hands, rub palms together and put on wet hair immediately. A warm feeling on the palms and head is felt. When the formulator mixes two parts water to one part shampoo, the temperature rises about 7°C.

Exothermic Shampoo
Ingredients: %Wt.
Part A  
Glycereth-26 77.35
Lauramide DEA 3.00
Part B  
Propylene glycol 10.00
Sodium lauryl sulfate powder 8.00
PEG-12 dimethicone 1.00
Methyl paraben 0.20
Citric acid 0.45

Procedure: With constant stirring, heat Part A in batch tank to 70-75°C. Heat Part B in separate container to 75°C and add to A. Cool to 55°C and add citric acid to pH 5.8. Perfume can be added at 50°C.

The above exothermic shampoo formula is expensive because it contains no water. A companion product could be the following:

Exothermic Conditioner
Ingredients: %Wt.
Glycereth-26 95.5
Quaternium 18 (and)isopropyl alcohol 3.5
PEG-12 dimethicone 1.0

Procedure: With constant stirring, heat first two ingredients to 65°C, cool to 55°C and add the last ingredient.

The conditioner is applied to hair using the same procedure as the shampoo. One part of this with two parts of water results in an increase in temperature of 8°C.

Here is another hair conditioner with a gimmick. When applied to hair that has been washed, rinsed and towel dried, it will turn white when more water is added.

Novel Rinse-Off Conditioner
Ingredients: %Wt.
Part A  
POP-20 lanolin alcohol 25.0
POE-4 lauryl ether 25.0
Quaternium 18 (and)isopropyl alcohol 5.0
Methyl paraben 0.2
Propyl paraben 0.1
Alcohol SDA 40 30.0
Part B  
Water 14.7
Alcohol SDA 40 qs

Procedure: With constant stirring, heat part A to 40°C. When uniform, add water at 40°C. Cool and qs with alcohol.

Below is a temporary hair-coloring product, which can be used on scalp hair or on facial hair (men only). It can be filled into a lipstick or similar applicator for use.

Wax Touch Up Hair Color
Ingredients: %Wt.
Castor oil 34
Iron oxide umber 10
Iron oxide black 20
Beeswax 28
Candelilla 8

Procedure: Disperse pigments in castor oil at room temperature, then heat to 75°C and add waxes. Mix and cool to 65°C. Fill into containers.

My last formula is a mouthwash containing vodka instead of alcohol. It could be a gift for someone who has everything or for a vodka lover.

The brand I used in this formula was Majorska 100 proof.

Vodka Mouthwash
Ingredients: %Wt.
Deionized water 83.4
Flavor 0.2
Polysorbate 20 1.0
Glycerin 3.0
Sodium saccharin 1% 2.0
Vodka (100 proof) 10.0
Color 0.4

Procedure: Mix the flavor and polysorbate together and add to water in the batch tank.
Add the remaining ingredients in the indicated order. Stir constantly. Cheers!


Harvey Fishman has a consulting firm in Wanaque, NJ, specializing in cosmetic formulations and new product ideas, offering tested finished products. He has more than 30 years of experience and has been director of research at Bonat, Nestlé LeMur and Turner Hall. He welcomes descriptive literature from suppliers and bench chemists and others in the field.